Photo caption: Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton pictured with Sky News host Paul Murray in Dubbo on Thursday night.
Federal integrity commission
Last week Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus introduced legislation for a National Anti-Corruption Commission. The Labor Government has committed $262 million over four years for the establishment and ongoing operation of the Commission, which will investigate serious or systemic corrupt conduct across the entire federal public sector.
I am supportive of a corruption commission because I believe there is no place for corrupt behaviour in public life in Canberra or anywhere around the country. People who break the law should face the law.
However, it is important that we take serious care in the consideration of the Government’s legislation because we are giving extraordinary powers to the commission, which is effectively the police, judge, jury and executioner. We don’t want innocent people and their reputations being trashed and we don’t want people committing suicide as we’ve seen in South Australia and elsewhere as a result of false allegations.
It’s important that the committee examining this bill hear from the experience of the corruption commissions and those who have been subject to them either as lawyers, parties, or witnesses, from every state and territory, to ensure we get the balance right. There needs to be privacy for hearings and protections in place to ensure the Commission doesn’t actually become a corrupt organisation itself.
The Coalition has taken a constructive approach to the negotiations on this matter and we will continue to work with the Government in a constructive way.
Boost for rural communities
I’m pleased to see that two organisations in the Parkes electorate have received funding through the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal’s Strengthening Rural Communities – Rebuilding Regional Communities program.
Regional Community Care Limited, trading as Lifeline Broken Hill Country to Coast, was awarded $49,000 through the Rebuilding Regional Communities Large stream to run suicide prevention training sessions across seven locations in Far West NSW and regional South Australia. This will help sustain the work of Lifeline Broken Hill, providing the Far West with vital training to help prevent suicide.
The Weemelah branch of the Country Women’s Association of NSW has also received $1,500 through the Rebuilding Regional Communities Micro stream, to support the return of the annual spring lunch. This funding will be used for the Weemelah Hall hire, food and entertainment by the Moree Ukulele Band. This event will help reduce social isolation in the small village of Weemelah.
Dubbo showcased on national television
It was great to see the Parkes electorate showcased on Sky News last week, with Paul Murray Live broadcasting from Dubbo on Thursday night.
We all know what a great place Dubbo is to live, work and raise a family, and now the rest of Australia has a taste of what our region has to offer, thanks to the Our Town series. The Our Town series featured Gunnedah earlier this year, and this time it was Dubbo’s turn.
I was pleased to be involved in the filming, which took place at Dubbo Showground, and look forward to seeing the Paul Murray Live Our Town series shine a spotlight on more towns in our electorate.
Apply to be a Trailblazer
Applications are now open for the ABC’s Trailblazers program in 2023, for people aged 18 to 28 who are doing inspiring things in their regional town.
From young community leaders to social entrepreneurs, advocates to event organisers, the ABC is looking for young people with a commitment to making regional Australia even better. Trailblazers will have their work featured on the ABC and will receive a great package of support.
I encourage any young people in the Parkes electorate who are working on social, educational and economic development projects in their regional communities to apply now.
Applications close on Thursday 20 October. For more information and to apply, visit www.abc.net.au/heywire/trailblazers.